Sam has been back in daycare for about 2 months now. It’s been good for him, though, not without its challenges, and it’s provided me with a heck of a lot more quiet time than I’d become accustomed to (hence all the audiobook bingeing.) I am still working from home, mostly because I didn’t want to get used to going back into the office only to move shortly thereafter. We’ve been out of space in our current abode for quite some time, so when husband was offered a new job, we were open to relocation… Well, I was specifically open to THIS relocation because while the move is about 90 minutes away from where we currently live, it’s not much further from our families (the geography is complicated- it’s further South but also a lot further East? You know what? It doesn’t matter. Just know that trips to visit grandparents are unlikely to be affected.) I’ll be able to continue working remotely. It’s too far to make regular commuting reasonable, but not too far to drop in on occasional meetings or if I just miss my friends, co-workers, and office dogs. Hence. We’re moving. To a house with enough space for me to have a dedicated home office, which I will likely decorate with all sorts of whimsy and silliness. Despite knowing this is the right decision for us, I’m STRESSED. I mean, I already have anxiety issues, but uprooting from the home we’ve been in for 13 years is intense. Necessary, but intense. Like, earlier today I spent an unreasonable amount of time researching mailbox installation. Our current home is in an old neighborhood where everyone has mail slots and porch mail boxes, our new home will need a street side mailbox. Which will necessitate digging a fence post to anchor the thing and, like, cement and stuff? I’ve entered the stage of nerves where the overall picture is TOO MUCH and I’m worrying specifically about something small and dumb. As always, I’ve turned to the healthiest coping mechanism at my disposal- the romantic comedy. Blessed be the rom-coms: for they shall relieve your stress. (The writers of the Bible only left that Beatitude out because they’d never read any Christina Lauren, probably.)
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren- Jess is a single mom, a freelance statistician, and generally kind of frazzled. She does not have time for dating, apps or otherwise. She’s perfectly content to appreciate the beauty of the brusque guy who sweeps into her favorite coffee shop each morning from afar, because while he’s pretty, he seems like kind of a jerk… Until the day her effervescent Co-Working Space Partner in Crime/Romance Novelist bestie (appropriately nicknamed Fizzy) finds out that “Americano” (his boring coffee order) is some kind of scientist working on a dating app, of all things. That’s right. Take your dating app to the next level by looking at your genetic compatibility. Fizzy is desperate to find out more and takes Jess along for the ride. It’s a weird afternoon. Things get even weirder when Jess is called in to be informed that she has an unprecedented 98% compatibility match with none other than snooty Mr. “Americano” (whose name is actually Dr. River Peña.) There are few people on the planet Jess would consider less of a potential soulmate. But, well, the company offers Jess a stipend to get to know River- absolutely no physicality required (there’s a contract.) It is all on the up and up, as far as these things go, and it’s money Jess can’t afford to turn down. The thing is, once Jess and River start spending time together, they realize the calculation might not be so wrong after all. I know the premise sounds kind of creepy, but it’s really well done and a lot of fun. Fizzy is the absolute best BFF in all of fiction, Juno is a delight of a kid, and Jess’s grandparents are the actual cutest. This book is sweet, warm, and a wonderful escape. It’s one of the best Christina Lauren offerings I’ve read in a while, and THAT is saying something.
Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur- This book is a follow up to Written in the Stars (review), which was exceptionally adorable. It follows Darcy’s little brother and dating app developer Brendon. (I have read kind of a lot of rom-coms revolving around dating apps. I should write a listicle.) Brendon is the most wonderful cheeseball romance hero. This dude has unabashed enthusiasm for grand gestures and classic rom-coms. He’s a cinnamon roll to the max, I ADORE this nerd. For all his starry-eyed romanticism, though, Brendon has never been in a serious relationship. He dates plenty, but hasn’t found “the one.” Sure, he spent his teen years pining for his sister’s best friend, but he’s an adult now. A handsome, charming, goofball of an adult who happens to be available when his former crush needs a tour guide on short notice. And Annie, the former object of Brendon’s affection? Well. She’s spent her entire professional career traveling. What once sounded like an invigorating opportunity has lost its luster. Traveling sounds glamorous, but when you spend most of your time in board rooms doing HR work, the little time you can spend seeing the sights is hampered with a lack of companionship. Annie decides to visit Seattle on a whim to visit Darcy before packing up and relocating to London. But while she’s there, she discovers the joys of having a home. Between her lifelong best friend, a new friend network, and HOLY HOTNESS trying to woo her, Annie begins to question the life she’s chosen. This book is everything I’ve ever wanted in a rom-com. Especially the epilogue. Read it and be delighted.
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron- Reena Manji may not love her job, or the fact that she’s single, but she loves her independence. Unfortunately, her family owns the building she lives in and rents to her at a discount (I mean, Toronto housing prices aren’t cheap.) So while it’s annoying that her father has moved his newest employee across the hall from Reena with the hopes that they’ll eventually get married, it’s not entirely surprising. Reena is used to her family’s attempts at meddling in her love life. Reena is about to dismiss Nadim out of hand, only… It turns out he’s a lot of fun to hang out with… And not bad to look at either. They can be neighborly friends without her having to marry him, right? Clearly the dude has some baggage, and heaven knows Reena does too. They can totally just hang out platonically… And maybe fake a relationship so Reena can enter a cooking contest. And, OK, maybe hook up a little. NBD. Look, there’s not much I find more endearing than a fake dating story. Nadim had my heart when he agreed to babysit Reena’s sourdough starter. This book was a joy to read. I haven’t read a lot of secular Muslim romances, so this was a fun new perspective. Sweet, funny, charming- it ticked all the boxes for a delicious rom-com.
Alright, Bookworms. That’s all for me this week. If any of you have tips on how to move without completely losing your marbles, I’m all ears. If you have no tips, I’ll happily take more rom-com recs.
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